The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami has informed stakeholders in the telecommunications industry that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved and also directed that necessary physical protective measures be placed to safeguard telecommunications infrastructure deployed across the country.
The Nigerian telecommunications industry depends on a number of infrastructures that plays a critical role in the smooth delivery of telecoms services. These are part of Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) because of the important role they play, in ensuring security and in the delivery of other essential services.
As part of the policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Dr Pantami has championed efforts to identify telecommunications infrastructure as Critical National Infrastructure, with a view to protecting them from vandalisation and theft, amongst other things.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to a massive migration to digital platforms and has increased the level of importance of Critical National Infrastructure to the sustenance of our economy and the security of the nation.
The Minister in a statement, said the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Defence Headquarters (DHQ), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Department of State Security Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), have been notified of Mr President’s directive.
“We are also working towards the reinforcement of these directives through appropriate regulatory instruments. Dr Pantami especially appreciates the security institutions, and commends the commitment they have demonstrated in securing these infrastructures”, the statement said.
“The implementation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) and the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, both unveiled by Mr President, have repositioned the ICT sector.
“This is evident by the recent ‘Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product Report’ released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which showed that the ICT sector contributed an unprecedented 14.07% to the total real GDP in the first quarter of 2020.
“The Minister is truly grateful for the timely approval of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, and we are confident that this will address the challenge of vandalism of our Critical National Infrastructure. It will also go a long way in supporting the implementation of the National Broadband Plan (2020-2025).
“Finally, the Federal Government strongly urges the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to ensure that they further reduce the price of data and calls for citizens. This is to reciprocate this gesture, and to submit a comprehensive list of their facility locations all over the country”, the statement added.